OK Google—can you multitask? The answer is now yes. Google Home is now able to perform actions based on two commands given right in a row.
Before this update, Google Home users had to make separate requests for each action they wanted completed. (For instance, “OK Google—play [song]” and “OK Google—set volume to [volume level].”) Doing this simply didn’t flow well and seemed like an unnecessary hassle. With the update that was quietly released by Google, asking Google to do multiple things can flow off the tongue a little more easily.
Now users can simply add “and” between their commands and save a little time and effort. For instance, in the example above, you might just say, “OK Google—play [song] and set volume to [volume level].” This can make communicating with your Google Home a little less stilted. As CNET notes, you can only combine two commands at this point, so if you have a complicated request, you’ll still need to make separate requests. However, this update is still an improvement.
This certainly may help Google Home continue gaining on Amazon’s offering, the Echo. To many reviewers, the Echo was often the best choice for a smart speaker (of the many articles on this subject, Wirecutter and Business Insider are both particularly detailed).
However, Google Home was already catching up to the Echo in some ways. For instance, a Forbes article from last Spring noted that Google’s smart speaker was better than the Echo at answering “complex questions.” And the new ability to respond to two requests at once also stands out against the Echo—if you have an Alexa device, you probably already know that Alexa can’t complete multiple tasks in one request.
Of course, the Echo does have the upper hand in many other ways, but it’s still important to note that Google is clearly working hard to advance Google Home and make it more intuitive. With other updates coming in the future, like the upcoming “Routines” feature (as reported by CNET), now might be a good time to think about whether you want to give Google Home a try.